I always get asked about my hair. Over the past three or four years, I have gotten less attention attached to my hair, but every now and then someone will say something about it. I had long hair my entire life. My hair hung in a long ponytail down my back, all the way to my butt until I was 13. I cut it to shoulder length when I was 13 and I was no longer the girl with really long hair.
I’ve never really been attached to my hair. I kept it long for so long mostly because my mom liked it and lots of people used to compliment me on it. I always wore it in a ponytail or a braid. Once I cut it initially, I still sported a ponytail most of the time or a bun. All the way up through college, until one day I thought about how much easier it would be if my hair was short.
Pixie cuts were starting to become extremely popular, lots of celebs sporting them. When Anne Hathaway cut her hair for Les Miserables, I really started to consider cutting my hair short. This was at a time when I hadn’t even fully realized I was gay. This was totally not me making a statement about my sexuality. Of course not every woman with short hair is gay, but it is a stereotype I fall into. I just knew Anne Hathaway looked hella fine, so maybe I would too.
I battled the idea in my brain for about a year and a half. I didn’t really ask anyone for their opinion, except my older sister. She’s very knowledgable about what is trendy and what looks good on people, so I trusted her to tell me what she thought. I totally anticipated her telling me that I would look like a boy or that I would look hideous, but she didn’t. She said I would maybe look okay and that was enough for me.
One day I booked a haircut with my normal hair dresser and did the big chop. I showed her a few pictures of what I liked and asked if she thought it would work with my hair type and my face shape. I trusted her and she told me it would. Jokingly afterwards she told me that she would have told me if I would have looked insane with short hair. I was elated. I couldn’t stop smiling and running my hands through my short hair.
I finally felt like myself. I sent pictures to all my friends and the majority of them loved it. I felt really accepted until I told my mom. She cried for days. She doesn’t like change much. After a while she got used to it, but at first she was definitely very reluctant to accept the choice I made. She told me that I didn’t look like myself.
And I started to believe it a little bit. I looked in the mirror for an hour one day after I got my hair cut and I suddenly felt like I was looking at a stranger. I didn’t feel sexy anymore. I missed my long hair. I started to feel like my long hair made me feminine, it made me a woman. I remember walking home from class one night in college and a whole car full of teenage boys yelling dyke at me as they drove by. After a few days of crying over it and wondering what I’d done to myself, I started to accept it more. I started to remember that my hair nor my clothes nor my eye color nor my body shape defined me. I was who I was. And I started to feel confident. I started to feel empowered by it.
Cutting my hair was a tough decision for many reasons. I didn’t know how others would react and when they didn’t react well, my self-confidence took a hit. Hair is political. I didn’t realize the implications of that when I cut my hair. I’m glad I didn’t though because it might have kept me from doing it. I disappointed my mom. I shocked a lot of people. I erased the perceptions many people had about me. I felt empowered. I put my queerness out there for everyone to see unknowingly. I learned to feel sexy without having to rely on my hair.
People still today tell me that they could never look good with short hair, and truly it isn’t about looking good. It is about feeling good and having the confidence to rock whatever you have on your head. So if you’re thinking of taking any kind of risk with your outward appearance, I say go for it. It is one of the best decisions I ever made, and I don’t ever intend to have long hair again. But if one day I decide to, I’ll rock it too.